Valvular Heart Disease (VHD) currently affects 2.5% of the population, but is overwhelmingly a disease of the elderly and consequently on the rise. The prevalence is 13% in those over the age of 75, and the population beyond the age of 85 is set nearly to double by 2028. VHD is dominated by two conditions, Aortic Stenosis and Mitral Regurgitation, both of which are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, yet which pose a truly demanding challenge for treatment optimisation.

Clinical Motivation: The timing and nature of interventional treatment is crucial in valve disease, but optimisation remains a major challenge in current clinical practice. Operating on patients too late carries the risk of development of irreversible heart failure. Operating too early exposes patients to unnecessary risks, conceivably causing short (e.g. valve thrombosis) or long term sequelae (e.g. early valve degeneration).

The EurValve project is ultimately to help clinicians make this decision. The researchers are developing new tests and a new approach using 3D computer models. Modelling – creating a computerised model of the patient’s rel heart, constructed from images – brings special benefits, in particular the chance to simulate what would happen if the replacement operation was to be done now, or if it was left for example, for six months.

EurValve will implement, test and validate a modelling-based decision support system for aortic and mitral valve diseases that allows simulating, comparing and understanding the effects (outcomes) and risks of different treatment strategies. This decision support system will allow for in-silico simulation of different treatment options and thus allow comparison of their immediate haemodynamic outcome.

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